Applications Now Open for 2019 $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover

Retired Racehorse Project announced December 15, 2019 that applications are open for the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. Applications will be accepted through January 15, 2019, and accepted trainers will be announced on February 1, 2019.

Now in its fifth year in its current format and at its current location, the Thoroughbred Makeover features competition in 10 disciplines for recently-retired Thoroughbreds with less than 10 months of retraining for a second career. Disciplines include barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunter, show jumper, and ranch work.

Horses and trainers will compete for $100,000 in total prize money, plus the coveted title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred (as determined by audience vote) at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 2-5, 2019. The Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium includes not just the competition, but educational seminars, a sponsor fair, the Makeover Marketplace horse sale and the Makeover Master Class featuring demonstrations and insight from leading trainers. The Finale features the top five horses in each discipline and will be livestreamed for viewers at home.

There is no need to have acquired a 2019 Makeover-eligible horse at the time of application, and professionals, amateurs and juniors are all encouraged to apply. Applicants must demonstrate expertise in at least one Makeover discipline through competition highlights, references and optional video links.

“Over the next 10 months, nearly 1,000 Thoroughbreds who are either recently retired from racing or who are winding down their on-track careers will receive a solid foundation of retraining, thanks to the hundreds of equestrians preparing to compete in the Thoroughbred Makeover,” said Jen Roytz, executive director of RRP. “The Thoroughbred Makeover is unlike any other equestrian competition in the world. There are a number of key updates in this year’s rules aimed at elevating the caliber and quality of the competition, including an expanded ‘team’ division. We encourage even those who have competed at the Makeover in the past to read through our expanded rulebook carefully and to contact us with any questions they might have.”

Approved trainers may acquire eligible Thoroughbreds through whatever source they choose, or can ride under contract for an owner. Eligible horses must have raced or had a published work on or after July 1, 2017 and must not have started retraining for a second career prior to December 1, 2018 other than a maximum of 15 allowable rides.

Thoroughbred Makeover Links:

2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Rules and Information
FAQs About the Thoroughbred Makeover
Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities
2018 Thoroughbred Makeover Results
2018 Thoroughbred Makeover Finale Videos

2018 Thoroughbred Makeover Recap

A record 794 trainers were accepted to compete during the initial application process, a 37 percent increase from 2017. The accepted trainers represented 40 states and the District of Columbia, plus three Canadian provinces
560 horses were entered by the Aug. 1 registration deadline. Taking into account last-minute scratches, 420 horses completed.
Thirteen teams are entered in the Starting Gate College Consulting Team Competition.
The most-raced horse entered in the competition had 111 starts. The highest money-earner had career winnings of $676,480.
Total number of horses entered in each discipline, as of Aug. 1: Barrels, 36; Competitive Trail, 77; Dressage, 182; Eventing, 128; Field Hunters, 50; Freestyle, 70; Polo, 16; Ranch Work, 63; Show Hunters, 173 (plus 13 team entries); Show Jumpers, 144 (plus 9 team entries).
Approximately 200 horses were entered in the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace.
More than 115 volunteers helped staff the competition.
50+ companies were Makeover sponsors.
60+ vendors took part in the Sponsor Fair.
RRP logo

Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds and build the bridges to second careers. It publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, maintains the Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, manages the online Bloodline Brag, and presents programs at major horse expos across the country. Visit RRP online at

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